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There are two important, indeed, fundamental questions
you have to answer in life.
The first is, is there a God? Specifically a moral and judging creator.
The second is, are people
basically good? Your answer to the second question
will shape just about all of your moral social and political views
even more than whether you believe in God.
That's why a believer and an atheist who have the same views about human nature
almost always have the same social
and political views. Let me give you some examples.
You've probably heard the phrase "poverty causes crime."
If you believe that people are basically good, you are likely to believe that
poverty
or bigotry or some other outside force
causes people to commit violent crime. That's the only way you can make sense
of the fact that some people commit crimes
despite their basically good nature. Something drove them to it.
But if you don't believe people are basically good, you're far more likely to
blame the criminals themselves
not outside forces for their actions.
One more example. In a society where it is believed that people are basically good
parents and society don't devote great efforts
toward making good people. After all, if we're born good
why do you have to teach goodness? On the other hand
those who don't believe we are born all that good understand that parents and
society
have to undertake major efforts to make children
into good adults.
Okay then, are people basically good? As I will show given humanities history
the answer should be obvious. Of course human nature
isn't basically good. Now this doesn't mean that people are basically bad,
we are born with real potential to do good, but we are not
basically good. Take babies. Babies are lovable
and innocent but they're not good, they're entirely self-centered
as they have to be in order to survive. "I want mommy,"
"I want milk," "I want to be held," "I want to be comforted,"
and if you do not do all these things immediately I will ruin your life.
That's not goodness, that's narcissism.
We are born narcissists.
preoccupied with number one, ourselves.
And if you've ever worked with kids you know how cruel, how bullying they can be.
And don't parents have to tell their child tens of thousands of times
"Say thank you."
Now why is that? If we're naturally good wouldn't feeling and expressing gratitude come naturally?
And then there is the historical record.
Evils, huge evils,
affecting much of the human race have been the norm.
Here goes, just a few examples.
The Ottoman Turks targeted millions of Armenian Christians
for death during World War I.
The German Nazi regime murdered 6 million Jews, two out of every three European Jews
including more than a million children and babies.
The Soviet Communist regime slaughtered about 5 million Ukrainians
and about 25 million other innocents. The Chinese Communists killed about 70 million Chinese
and enslaved the rest of the Chinese people.
The North Korean Communist regime has built what one can only call
the world's largest concentration camp. Most of North Korea.
in postcolonial Congo in the decade between 1998 and 2008
over five million people were murdered
and tens if not hundreds of thousands of women raped.
Of course before that,
about 10 million Africans were kidnapped and made slaves in the European slave trade
and another 10 to 18 million Africans were enslaved
by Arab slave traders.
And let me ask you this, if people are basically good why does every civilization have so many laws
to control human behavior?
Knowing all this, those who believe that people are basically good have simply
made a decision to believe that
and ignore all the evidence.
Why do people commit evil? Because it's easy to,
because it's tempting to, and yes
because it often accords with human nature.
That is why figuring out how to make good people
is the single most important project in all of human life.
But first you have to believe it's necessary.
I'm Dennis Prager.
Join Prager University: subscribe to our YouTube channel
and sign up for free at PragerU.com
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Are People Born Good?

2794 Folder Collection
Sh, Gang (Aaron) published on September 16, 2016    Sh, Gang (Aaron) translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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